Saturday, August 30, 2014

Photo Dump

Brace yourselves for all of the random photos from the past month!

 Before I got a pushmower, Bethy would come over and mow my lawn, while I hung out with the Madster and Emboz. I got Madi a Wedding veil for dress up and she was NOT as excited as i thought she would be! The only reason she is smiling here is because she was pulling it off of her head!
 I hung up my mirror long ways in my hallway, I'm still working on perfecting my mirror pics but this one wasn't too bad! One day I will have a full length mirror, one day!
 Before the oppressive heat hit, this is what my Friday nights looked like after I was done teaching. So relaxing and nice to be able to sit on my back patio and look out at my back yard!
 Sunshine coming through the trees!
 I regret mowing my yard for the first time in my flip flops. Rest in Peace flip flops. You served me well!
 Audra and Cubbie came over one night for dinner and to see my new home! Cubbie was a FAN of the big windows and being able to creep on all the neighbors.
 Audra was stuck :)
 Mowing started easier than it is now! With all the heat and the rain my lawn grows crazy jungle grass, add the wet ground to it and I get quite the workout!
 On a related note I've been hanging out at the chiropractor weekly. :) While my chiro was on vacation my neck went out so I had to see a new Chiro, and found out she is covered by my insurance! WHOOO! Very thankful for that! I still see my Regular Chiro once a month, and visit her in between for tune ups!
 One of my students made a surprise for her little siblings for the 4'th of July. She wrote and designed books about "Firework Man" and made him part of the holiday. She brought the book she drew for her sister, featuring Ariel, and it was so creative I had to snap a picture of it! Oh, and she's 7!!!!!!
 Beautiful sky on a stormy night..
 Random selfie of me in my kitchen. 
 Not the cutest picture, but it cracks me up! One of my students is going on break so we had sort of a going away party for her. I made us Coke Floats, which were a HUGE hit!! She had never had one before! I was happy to remedy that!
 After she left my next student for the night arrived, and was trying for the perfect selfie to send to her friend from her Piano Lesson. I was cracking up at her! She would hold the phone up, make a face, then say nope. not it. Think for  a second, and repeat the process. This happened several times, and I was dying.  I couldn't really say much since I had taken a coke float selfie in the lesson before her :)
And finally, I have mastered a dessert! This Cherry Cheesecake is now going to be my signature dessert. I have successfully made it for several people who have loved it! I made this one for my parents who were coming to help me with some house projects. My Dad scarfed it down in no time, and my Mom actually asked ME for the recipe!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#ChooseJoy #JoyGivers365 Weeks 29-34 Cancer Free!!!!

A few weeks ago I found a lump.

It's scary for anyone, but when you have very recently lost a loved one to cancer, and have the genetic history that I do, it's downright terrifying. I know that my odds for cancer are high, everytime I'm at a Dr's office and giving my family history you can see and hear the change in the person taking it down. Three Grandparents with cancer. Maternal Grandmother with Metestatic Ovarian Cancer. As one Dr said " You really didn't win the genetic lottery did you?" um no.

Fact of the matter is, I've allready had a cancer scare. Two weeks before I turned 21, I was 14 hours away from my family, at my college in Florida, and I sat in the Dr's office and heard those words that you never want to hear. "With a cyst this size, it is almost definitely cancer."

Thank God it wasn't.

But I have never forgotten that moment, or what it felt like afterwards, walking back to my Dorm and feeling like the whole world had changed.

Now 11 years later, during a normal self exam I felt a lump.

I told my Dr, had an apt, and got referred to go have a Mammogram.

This past Tuesday I spent over two hours at the center having a mammogram and then an ultrasound.

I will say this, if you're worried or scared that a Mammogram will hurt, it doesn't.  And it was very quick. I think the weirdest/most uncomfortable part of it was where my arm had to go. I never really thought my arms were in the way until i went for my mammogram! ha! I told the lady it felt like I was doing really weird yoga.

It was a very long afternoon, nerve wracking to say the least. I was so nervous when I got there I thought about asking the receptionist how many people have had a heart attack while waiting. 

Its a strange thing, being in the back area where the testing is done. Only patients are allowed back in the small waiting room. You sit there with your exam outfit on, among other women who are waiting to hear if they have good or bad news. It was a very interesting dynamic. I can't quite describe it, but you felt for the other women. I ended up talking to each of the three different women that were in the room at the times I was waiting. I found myself wanting to cheer them up, to encourage them and take their mind off from the fear that was coursing through their bodies. (It was going through mine as well) When one of us would be called back into the exam room for a second look, ect, we would wish each other luck and say kind things. It was comforting really, even though I had never met any of them before, we were kind of bound together in that time. Pulling for each other and praying for the other to have good news.

It's been a few weeks since I started writing this blog. At the beginning it was too fresh for me, too personal to share. I debated on whether I wanted to share it or not, but it is part of my history now, and part of my story. And Heavens knows with how bad my memory is becoming I might forget it in the next 7 hours.

Monday, July 28, 2014

All of the sudden I got a Social Life

 After a rough few months being sick and then moving, I apparently decided to see everyone I know within the span of a week. Ha. Ok, maybe not everyone I know, but I did manage to cram a lot of fun stuff  into a short amount of time!

Last week was Fair Week. There is not much I love more than a good Lemon Shake up and Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich. So of course I had to go! Audra was working the Ivy Booth at the Fair on Thursday, AND they were giving away free sunglasses! Score! I wore my sunglasses from last year tons, until I accidentally crushed them, sadness. I made my way over to the fair on Thursday after lunchtime and was pleasantly surprised at how NOT packed it was!
 Auds and I look like we're walking an Ivy Red Carpet. Cracks me up!!
 The next day I hosted my first Lunch at my new house! Muy Caliente and Jda came over and I must say, I made some pretty tasty food!! Which I took a picture of but didn't upload. #fail We had a great time eating and talking and laughing. I missed those girls!!
 Jda is pretty much the cutest pregnant lady ever! She does everything else in her life with style so why not pregnancy? Also, her kids are the cutest ever. I can't wait to see what her first baby BOY looks like! He will be stylish that is one thing I am sure of!
 And my Muy Caliente. How much do I love this girl? SO much!! We were just missing the other member of the Dream Team-Apes!
 First, I am impressed I successfully got all of us in this picture. Second, I laugh everytime I see this, we look like a color wheel. Muy is Tan, Jda is almost tan, and I am pasty. I was feeling pretty good about myself having a "tan" this summer. I have moved up from not the lightest shade of foundation but the NEXT lightest! Yes, I am Casper. Bless my Heart.
 Saturday Morning I got up bright and early, (and by that I mean before 8 am, which I don't even do on a weekday!) and headed out to my students's church for their yearly rummage sale. Yes, those are hula hoops on my shoulder. I had just read in one of my women's magazines about hula hoop exercises, which I thought sounded fun! or as fun as exercise can be... so when I saw them at the sale i just had to have them. I also got a big box of items, none of which i have pictures of.
 Sunday, whew, are you tired yet? I sure was. Sunday I made my way over to the Hospital to actually visit someone there (so much better than being treated there!!) more importantly to MEET someone! My student finally had her baby girl, Caroline, and I was sooo excited to meet her and snuggle!!  Fun fact, I was the first person, after the Mama, that found out Caroline was a girl!! I knew when the big ultrasound was, and had been waiting patiently to find out, we all know i'm not patient so I texted her to find out and she told me she was a girl! I found out at our next lesson I was the first person she told because no one else was answering their phones! I am always the last person to find out anything, so I just want to memorialize this fact.
Anyways, Caroline was the sweetest little burrito ever!! She just slept and slept in my arms! She only fussed when the Nurse took her away from me and undressed her to do tests, ect. She was screaming her head off when she handed her back to me, but with the patented Cherrybear Pat and Sway, she calmed right down! #ihaveagift

It was seriously hard for me to tear myself away from her deliciousness but I finally did. Can't wait till I can get my hands on her again!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#ChooseJoy #Joygivers365 Week 28- Mouser and a Toilet in the Front Yard

As told by Facebook Status Updates

I'm not sure what I'm going to do when these are successful.

How I sit to watch tv when there are mice on the loose.

Reasons why my mom is the BEST mom in the entire world. Man do I love her!!!

Charity Hendress
Infestation Update: After a night filled with very little sleep, I put on closed toed shoes (while wishing my snow boots weren't packed away) grabbed my broom and dustpan and mustered up the nerve to go in the kitchen and see what awaited me in the traps.

Nothing. No success trapping the little buggers. 

Found two droppings on the counter so they were out.

Today I am putting out poison, more mouse traps, and we sealed up an area that they might have been getting in outside. Mom blessedly brought me the grabber thingy (pictured in previous post) so when I do catch them I will not have to touch or get close!!

Your time is coming little mousies.. Don't get too comfortable here. Prepare to meet your maker!!!!!

Charity Hendress
Today is going from bad to worse.

My toilet overflowed after I took a shower this afternoon. Landlord and worker are here now, and he just blew the seal on the bottom of the toilet so my bathroom is flooded for the 2'nd time today.

If y'all could pray that they could successfully fix my toilet and shower TONIGHT, I would greatly appreciate it!

(My toilet has been bubbling when I shower, and when i wash my laundry. Shower has filled up with water and yucky stuff when I've done laundry this week)

Charity Hendress

I have become the person that I used to take pictures of and mock.#notoiletisntfunny #peeinginthefrontyard #justkiddingdad

Charity Hendress

The screams and shrieks all of the United States of America just heard were from the stupid mouse running across my kitchen floor, up to my long counter, and then along my long counter. I started to type this update and it came out again. Sweet Nibbletts I can't take this!!!!!

The mouse ATE the pb on the trap and the trap did not go off!!!!

Hoping he ate some poison otherwise I am doomed.

Oh mouser! Your dinner is ready! Specially made pb with some yummy crushed up poison!

Charity Hendress
This Old House Update:

After 18+hours of no toilet, the Plumber successfully cleared the block yesterday!! I could have hugged him. And can I just say that I hate how McDonalds only has air dryers to dry your hands instead of towels.

The Mouser, yes, I named him, is still alive. Somehow he is eluding my traps. Tonight I made a delicious dinner of mixed peanut butter and crushed up poison which he will hopefully eat.

Thankfully I have not seen him in person since Friday night. This could partially be because every time i enter the kitchen I announce myself, and carry on a loud conversation with him.

I am thankful that I am in a house now, and not sharing apt walls with anyone to hear my conversations with Mouser.

Charity Hendress


Mouser ate ALL of the poison pb!!!!!

Today is a GOOD 

Mouser:0 Cherrybear:10

And then finally, one week after I discovered his presence...

I GOT THE MOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And because I am very proud of myself, I must share HOW i found and disposed of him.

Earlier in the morning I had heard a rustling noise. I knew it was Mouser but was unsure of where he was. He has only been in the kitchen and going back and forth between the furnace room (which the wall is open to under my kitchen sink) and the laundry room. Furthermore, I hadn't heard rustling from him before. I wasn't quite sure what he was in to. I looked around before my shower and couldn't find him. So I took a very quick shower, with my 3 ft grabber thingy right beside me in case he tried to attack while I was bathing.

After I got ready I didn't heard anything, and sat down on my couch to watch some tv before my first student of the day arrived.

And then I heard it. More Rustling. I grabbed my grabber and went off to investigate. Nothing in the laundry room, but wait. The sound was coming from the PIANO ROOM. Horror, fear and a mix of nausea are in my heart. I had a bad feeling that I knew exactly where he was in the Piano room. Rustling could only come from the trash can (which was empty btw) I tip toed in there, peeked in, and saw a dark blob in the can. Could that be? yes, yes it is. Mouser was IN My trash can!! I shrieked like a little girl!

I knew I had to get him out of the house and FAST, before he climbed out of the can, I ran into my living room and unlocked my door quickly, ran back into the piano room and stood as far away as possible while I used my grabber to grab hold of the trash can. Once I had it, I ran (also like a little girl) outside and along my truck to the city trash can opened it and threw the  mouse, and my little trash can all in. I slammed the lid down and made sure it was nice and secure. My hands and whole body were shaking and my heart was racing so fast I felt like I had ran a marathon. I couldn't believe that stupid mouse had been in my trash can!

I'm assuming that he couldn't get out, since he was in there for so long and just sat there when i was shrieking and transporting him. He had eaten a HUGE amount of the poison I left out for him on Sunday night, and kept snacking on the loose poison that has still been out. SO I think he was not feeling so well. 

I am BEYOND relieved to have him out of my house! I am hoping there are no others, but if there are they will be dying soon as well since all the mouse poop i've seen has been D-Con Green. Gross, I know.

I had told myself I was going to #ChooseJoy when he died and the horrible stench came to my house. I am very relieved that God blessed me with not having to smell that!

I hate mice. HATE them. They scare me for some unknown reason and I just feel sick when I see, hear, think of one. Having a mouse take over my kitchen and feel like it was taking over my house this past week has been terrible.  I didn't think I'd be able to handle it but I did! All Thanks and Glory goes to God! He cares about everything, even my silly fear of mice!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

#ChooseJoy #JoyGivers365 Weeks 26 & 27 Twanda hitches a ride in the Uhaul

When you think about Joy filled events moving is not at the top of the list.

If it is, we should talk, because you're clearly doing something that I am not!

Just like finding a home, moving day was full of unexpected frustrations. Here I am sitting on my couch blissfully unaware of what the day would bring. 

 And here Jboz and I are just a few hours later.

Needless to say, things did not go smoothly as we had planned. There was not much Joy going on, just a whole lot of Twanda waiting to be unleashed. It was a long, hot, long, sweaty, hot, long day.

Because I am crazy, I had to teach two piano lessons that evening. With no shower, having moved in 95 degree heat. My students didn't care, and when they both came to their lessons and I shut the door to my brand new beautiful studio, the one room that was completely ready I felt like I could breathe again. During both of their lessons I tuned out the outside world and just focused on my students and the music we were creating. I turned out to be so thankful that I had kept those lessons that night. They were able to take my focus off my frustration and annoyance, and despite being worried the piano would not arrive at my new house in time for the first lesson, it turned out being the best part of the day. So I'm choosing to focus on that and the joy those two students brought to me. I don't think many people would say that their jobs would bring them joy after a long hard day like moving day, but it truely did!

Sunday morning I missed church because I was waiting on the tiling guy to come and work on my shower, that evening we were having our first night of worship at my churches campus in my town. I wasn't going to go since I hadn't been able to shower and felt funky, but at the last minute i decided to straighten my hair and spray on lots of perfume :) It was SUCH a blessing!  I had the BEST time worshipping God, singing, trying to get my groove on (this white girl can't dance) and talking and laughing with my friends afterwards. We literally shut the church down and it was a wonderful evening.

Monday morning after another handyman visit my shower was finally finished and for the first time in 4 days i showered in my own home. GLORIOUS!!!!!

 Not to be left out, my aching hips and I took a trip to the chiropractor. It was delightful! And suddenly I was able to walk without limping and looking like my age is close to Methuselah.  (Which FYI, is totally in the dictionary and just came up on auto correct. We all know there was no way I could spell that correctly!!)

Looking back I can be thankful for the good things that happened.

Em, Madi, and Jboz being so giving of their time and energy to help me move.

Jboz letting me shower at her house on Saturday. I stayed in for so long my fingers were pruney!

My Parents, oh my parents. Both of them worked their bottoms off, lost blood, and gained pain and injuries just to help. I really can't find any words adequate to explain how much they did and how grateful I am to them!

Being much more physically stronger this time around, I was a BEAST, especially unloading the Uhaul. Being in better shape and actually having some muscles, not to mention the weight I have lost in the past year definitely made a huge impact!

I am thankful that we mostly survived the heat

Right after we finished unloading the Uhaul, after being outside waiting for an hour in the hot sun, and then killing ourselves to unload as quickly as possible, the high temperatures and lack of water got to me and I had a dizzy spell. Thankfully I was able to go inside (although the AC wasn't on) and by the Grace of God we had unloaded a fan as one of the last items. 5 minutes of laying on the floor with the fan on my face and I recovered. 

(My Mom told me later that we almost killed her unloading the Uhaul. We probably should have taken a break at some point but we were on a roll!)

After the unloading we took a break and ate lunch and then poor Jboz felt the after effects of the heat. Thankfully she managed not to toss her cookies, and I decided it was a great time to drive back to the new place with our vehicles and their blessed and wonderful air conditioning. It did the trick and she was back to normal!

So very thankful that those two instances were it for our heat issues and that some cool air and water were all we needed!

Despite it being stressful, looking back now I can see that God did provide in so many ways for us. My challenge to myself is next time I am in a stressful situation and feel overwhelmed and to my breaking point, to not think about what is making me feel that way but to actively look for the gifts God has given me in those circumstances. I wish I had done that during moving and the days after, my attitude would have been so much more pleasant! ;)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

#ChooseJoy #JoyGivers365 Weeks 23, 24, 25

It's been a roller coaster few weeks (months). Around April i.e. the day my new neighbors moved in. I knew that I did not want to renew my lease when it was up at the end of June. Other neighbors and different situations at my complex reinforced this idea. When I got the paperwork to renew my lease (they automatically send it) and found out that not only was my rent going up but they were adding other charges as well, I knew for sure that I would not be staying at my current location.

For a long time I have longed for a house. For a girl that grew up on a farm, town life and especially apartment life, sharing walls with your neighbors, is just not for me. I crave peace and quiet. And not having to run my fan on high year round just to be able to sleep without hearing my neighbor snore. #iwishiwasjoking

When I began to look I was determined that I would NOT freak out and trust God through this process. So I began to put feelers out and look on craigslist a few times a week to see if i could find something acceptable. Unfortunately everything I found was either way out of my price range, or looked like a place where you would partake in illegal activities. Neither of which I was going for!

In the midst of this I got terribly sick, so searching was the last thing on my mind.

Once I came back from my parents and tried to get back to life, while still not feeling well, the search was on. I faced the same struggle as before.  Time started getting closer and closer to when I needed to move and I had nowhere to go. I was stressed.

Wednesday, June 11'th dawned and I was feeling sick and miserable. I hit my breaking point. I called my Mom and broke down on the phone to her. I didn't know why I was still feeling terrible nor where I would go in just two short weeks. Or if I would even be well enough to move myself. She tried to calm me down and I got off the phone and laid on my couch and just prayed.

A little bit later I decided to hop onto craigslist again and search. Lo and behold I found a house that was in my area and was UNDER my budget. It didn't have pictures but by this point I was beyond desperate so I clicked the contact button to send an email. If you're not familiar with Craigslist, sometimes it has the person's name and phone number other times it's an anonymous email. This time it happened to have a name. And I recognized that name! It was that of a man who goes to my old church. While I didn't know him personally we had mutual friends. A slight glimmer of hope began to arise in me. I quickly shot him off an email and mentioned my former church. 

Long story short, he called me right back and we talked for 20 mins, setting up a time to meet on Friday morning after my Dr's apt to see a different house which he thought would be a better fit for me.

It was.

I saw the house and fell in love!!

It is completely remodeled on the inside and super super nice. Way nicer than I thought I could have on my budget. As I was walking around inside looking at this adorable house, I kept thinking of Ephesians 3:20 which has been my verse of the year.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Eph 3:20

Not only is the house nicer than I could have imagined it's also, wait for it, UNDER Budget!!  Only God could do something like that!

And for this country girl, stuck in town, it has a nice backyard, which butts up to a railroad track, and behind that.. Is nothing. No neighbors, no buildings. Just grass. Beautiful. So I can go in my backyard, and sit on my back porch area and not see anyone. I cannot wait! I allready have great dreams of getting a porch swing and spending my free time outside swinging and reading.

Other things that are clearly from God, just for me:

An ice maker.

Yes, seriously. I love ice and hate having to do ice trays. I may or may not have jumped for joy and squealed when I saw the ice maker.

And not to be left out,

My mailbox is right by my front door. I can just stick my arm outside to get my mail. No more having to get in my truck and drive across the complex to go to the mail hub to get mail, and risk life and limb during the winter months when it's covered with ice and snow. 

There is one more tiny detail that I haven't mentioned.

I'm going to own this house.

In a year!

I'm doing a rent to own program, and if all goes well and I decide this is where I want to stay, in a year this house will be mine!

If you had told me a year ago or even a month ago that I would be looking at buying a house I would say there is no way! How could I do that?! #OnlyGod

I'm so excited and counting down the days until I can move into my first home!!!!! My parents are thrilled at the thought of me buying something and not having to move me for a long time. :)

I'm still in awe of how God worked this out. When I hit my breaking point I kept reminding myself of my Dad's favorite verse.

Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?
Matthew 6:26

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Life Lately according to my phone

 I am still not feeling well, but have had a few days in the past 3 weeks where I have survived through the day and felt like a member of society. i.e. showered. Pictured above I was excited to sport my super cute treble clef necklace that one of my students made me for christmas!
 The rest of the outfit, I texted my skirt to Audra and told her I felt like a Duggar :) But I did feel cute! I suppose it helps that my skirt is TWO SIZES smaller than what I was wearing this time last year!! BOOYAH!!!
 On that same day I ran out to Target, of which I had not been to in months. Months people! It was a tragedy! I enjoyed walking around and browsing and found these ADORABLE purses! The pink one was actually so bright I thought it was maybe a bit much. I'm stalking the mint purse and as soon as it's 75% off it will be mine!!
 In preparation for my upcoming move I have been cleaning out! I loaded up my truck with bags for Goodwill and was very excited to find out you can get boxes at Goodwill to pack with! I should have probably taken a picture of myself BEFORE pulling up to the donation area (below) as the two older gentleman workers were standing there totally waitng for me to get done taking my picture. #awkwardsauce

 I was excited for a day of teaching! My parents were in Iowa visiting Snugglemuffin (and his parents) so my Mom was sending me picture texts of what they were doing. Of course I had to send pics back to my buddy! Later on that evening I skyped with him, apparently everytime Nana had her tablet out, he would go over and say "Can we Skype with Auntie Charity?!" so precious!! Anyways, when we skyped that night, I was sitting on my couch, and he asked me if I was done with Piano! He is so smart!! I love that he knows that's what I do!!
File this one under #thingsyoudoforyournephew he was making silly faces and having Nana take his picture and send it to me, so of course i had to send some back! You would not believe how many pictures I had to take to get a non creepy "silly" face. Apparently silly faces are alot cuter on 3 year olds than 32 yr olds...
 The next night ( I was on a roll of feeling better for 4 days!!!!) I had a concert at one of the nursing homes I frequent. I had to go with this flowy sleeveless dress as it's usually toasty warm in this facility and it was already hot outside. I was glad I had worn it, especially when I discovered the HEATER right next to the piano.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#ChooseJoy #JoyGivers365 Weeks 16-22

I was all set to write up a post-Easter blog about choosing joy over the first Holiday without my Grams and how emotional it was to realize she was in Heaven with Jesus celebrating his Death and Resurrection IN PERSON.

And then... I injured my upper back and neck.

And I still have no clue how.

What I do know is that for 2 1/2 weeks I suffered from worse than ever before migraines and terrible back pain.

I practically lived at my chiropractors. No joke. I would have slept there if they had let me.

After my last apt (of 7930487930742) I felt good! 

For about a day.

And then I got the Stomach Flu.

(Or so I thought)

It was terrible.

After 2 days barfing, fever, and dizziness, I thought I was getting better.

And then it came back.

Worse than before.

Way worse.

And then I got to ride in an Ambulance to the emergency room.

That was fun.

I think. 

I don't really know, as I passed out during part of it.

The Dr told me I had at least 4 more days of the sickness. 

I wanted to punch him.

I would have if I could have moved at all without throwing up.

I spent the next week+ at my parents trying to fight off my sickness and then recover.

It was not fun. To say the least.

I distinctly remember laying on my parents couch on a Sunday afternoon.  Being on day 6 of vomiting, trying so desperately not to throw up, with a fan hurricane blast on my face, and quite frankly smelling a bit, ok alot, because I had been too sick and weak to shower for days.( Yes, days. ) I thought to myself "God, I REAALLYY don't know how i'm going to choose joy over this! I am done! I can't handle anymore! MAKE.THIS.STOP!" (spoiler-he didn't)

I couldn't think of one good or joyful thing about the whole nightmare.

Until I thought...

"Well, at least I'm losing weight"

Granted, I would have rather stuck to the healthier eating plan I had adapted in my life than to the barfing my guts out diet plan, but it was the best I could come up with at the moment!

It's been about 3 weeks since I got sick and I am still not back to my normal self. Applesauce and Saltines are still on the daily menu, and I am get tired very easily. It's taking awhile to build back up my strength and stomach very much solid food.

But through this all, there is joy to be found. I'm grateful, SO grateful, that my parents were able to take me home and take care of me. I'm even more joyful that God protected them from this illness.

I choose joy that even though I deal with a chronic health condition and got this crazy viral infection from who knows where, that it could be worse. It could be much worse. Even though the past month has been horrible, it's been one month. Some people spend entire years, lifetimes, feeling as bad as I did in one month. Having loved ones who have suffered from cancer, I have seen it first hand.

So while I still struggle to regain my strength and feel good, I choose joy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

#ChooseJoy #JoyGivers365 Weeks 14 & 15 Touch Someone's Life

Sunday afternoon I was going through some things of my Grams that my Mom had brought for me. As I was picking items up from the box I noticed a few envelopes. Looking closer, I instantly knew what they were and my eyes started welling up with tears. 

Last year, after we found out her cancer was back, Grams had surgery right before our birthdays. We had hoped she would be out of the hospital and at my brother's by her birthday but the surgery was much more intensive than any of us knew.

Mom, My SIL, and I tried to organize a card shower for her, to encourage her and let her know that people were praying for her. I got on facebook and sent a message to some of my friends who have kids (some of whom I teach Piano to) and asked if they would be willing to draw her a picture or send her something. I remember being surprised at how excited everyone was to help. They were touched that I had reached out and asked them and were excited to help cheer her up.

Months later, when my Grams finally made it back to Indiana and I was able to see her, she told me all about the wonderful mail she had received from my friends and students.  She was so tickled by some of them, and was proud that I had such nice friends who loved me, and also thru me, her. It really meant a lot to her.

So much that she kept them.

When I opened up that box this afternoon I found three different envelopes of the sweetest, and cutest little cards and notes and pictures, notes written by the adults with prayers and scripture verses.

I read them with tears rolling down my cheeks. 

I know I talk about being a JoyGiver and how it doesn't take much and one small act of kindness can change someone's day. It didn't take much for those people to write a little note, and the kids to draw a little picture, a stamp and an address and off it went to another state to encourage someone who was going through a dark time.

I know they probably forgot about the cards, but she didn't. She kept them and would look at them often. And now, over a year later, as I deal with her death, those same cards are encouraging me. Knowing that people took time out of their busy lives to send something nice to someone they didn't know, just because their friend asked. Knowing how much it meant to her to get all of those handmade cards and drawings. She felt loved.

It doesn't take much to impact someone's life. Those cards meant so much to her, and seeing that and knowing that it made her smile, means so much to me.

Pastor Steve was speaking at church today about how we all have something to give. Whether big or small we all are equipped to help people. Will we do it? Or will we have an excuse that it takes too much time, or you're tired tonight, or you don't know that person and you would feel silly. We all have excuses. And we're great at coming up with an excuse to justify not doing something that makes us uncomfortable! But think about the benefits. What if you could touch someone's life? What if you could not only touch someone's life for a moment, but over a year later, your kindness is still impacting others? 

What is holding you back from going and doing God's will?!

Be a #JoyGiver.

Even when you're tired.

Even when it's awkward.

We're all awkward.

Awkward is normal.

Be Awkward.

Be a #JoyGiver and mean something to someone.